Gainesville’s Regional Transit System began redirecting buses to its new Butler Plaza RTS Transfer Station January 4, making extensions and redirections to popular bus routes 1 and 75.
“Much like Rosa Parks [Downtown Station], it will be a hub of sorts for [bus] transfers as the area develops,” said RTS spokesman Chip Skinner.
Skinner said there are plans for other routes like 12 and 37 to also go to the station.
The station, located on Southwest 42nd Street, was built as a result of a joint agreement between Butler Plaza and the city, Skinner said. The station is right next to Butler North, the new Butler Plaza expansion.
Alex Gamble Jr., a frequent rider of buses 1 and 75, often has problems catching the buses every morning.
“The bus system is poor,” Gamble said. “It needs revising.”
Gamble, 62, said he has to take three different buses to get to his meetings in the morning.
“I’m from New York,” Gamble said. “When you get on a bus (in New York), it takes you anywhere.”
Gamble also said he has issues with the shelter at the new station.
“I don’t see no enclosure,” he said. “You’re gonna get rained on.”
Skinner said RTS started putting out notifications about the bus route changes in November. The changes to the routes were also posted on their website two weeks before the start of spring semester.
“[We] also put notification flyers on the buses, though some people take them down,” he said.
Donald Wright, a frequent user of the buses, said the new station has better facilities than where buses 1 and 75 originally stopped at Butler Plaza. That stop only has three benches and a small overhang.
“If you’re going to Butler Plaza you still gotta wait on the 1 to get here,” he said. “But they do make it more convenient with the restrooms [and the] water fountains.”
Skinner said the Transfer Station was made to eventually be better than the older Rosa Parks RTS Downtown Station on 700 SE 3rd St., because there is a park-and-ride parking lot.
Bus routes 1 and 75 served nearly a million passengers in fiscal year 2015 according to RTS’s ridership data.
Kerry Rose, 60, said while it was a surprise to him that the bus routes changed, it just adds a few extra minutes to his commute and he has no issues.
Rose said he rides buses 1 and 75 to go shopping at Butler Plaza.
“I get off at a different stop; that’s all,” he said.